Gallipoli a Poem by Staff Sgt A 2
My Great Uncle Sydney Bolitho wrote this poem in the trenches just one month after the landings. He was badly wounded in the legs several days later and finished the war at HQ in London. This poem was printed in most Australian newspapers in 1916. The one we have came from the Barrier Times in Broken Hill He contracted TB and was repatriated back to Australia in 1918 and passed away in early 1919. He was given a Military Funeral and is buried in the White Hills Cemetery. see article below on him and his mother.
The Poem "Gallipoli" opposite was written by Sydney Bolitho Tom’s Great Uncle in the trenches at GabaTepe (Gallipoli) in May 1915.
By Staff Sergeant Sydney Bolitho. 6th Battalion A.I.F.
The new dawn lights the eastern sky; Night shades are lifted from the sea, The Third Brigade with courage storm, Thy wooded heights, Gallipoli! Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! Australians tread Gallipoli.
Thunderous bursts from iron mouths – Myriad messengers of death, Warships ply their deadly fire, Watching comrades hold their breath, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! There’s hell upon Gallipoli.
Serried ranks upon the beach, Courage beams in every eye, These Australian lads can face, Giant Death, though e’er so nigh, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! There’s death upon Gallipoli.
On they press in endless stream, Up the heights they shouting go; Comrades fall; but still press on, They press the now retreating foe, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! The Turks flee on Gallipoli.
One by one the brave lie low, Machine Guns, shrapnel do their work; Brave Australians know no fear, Never have been known to shirk, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! Their names carved on Gallipoli.
Reduced, cut up, there numbers show, The murderous fire that swept thy field; But still victorious they stand, Who never have been known to yield, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! Thick dead lie on Gallipoli.
For days they hold with grim set grip, Their feet firm planted on the shore, Repelling every fierce attack, And cheerfully they seek for more, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! Their trenches line Gallipoli.
For thirty weary days they fight, For Britain’s sake they give their best; With uncomplaining voice they stand, And neither look nor ask for rest, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! They’ve conquered thee, Gallipoli.
The waves break on thy wave swept shores, The breeze still blows across thy hills; But crosses near and far abound, A sight that deepest grief instils, Gallipoli! Gallipoli ! Their graves lie on Gallipoli.
For those brave hearts that died to show, Australia’s worth in this dread war, The far off tears and sighs for those, Who sleep beneath the cannons roar, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! Thou still, shalt pay, Gallipoli.
The few that valiant still remain, War worn but grim and anger yet, To hurl full vengeance on the foe. Because they never can forget, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! They ask the price, Gallipoli.
Gallipoli I warn you now, Australia’s sons and Turks shall meet, Once more, and then our onslaught yet, Shall sweep the ground beneath your feet, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !Thy end’s in sight, Gallipoli.
Upon the Graves of those that sleep, Upon thy wooded slope and vale, We shall avenge. Remember then, Australians cannot, will not fail, Gallipoli ! Gallipoli ! Thy doom is sealed, Gallipoli.
The photograph below is unfortunately the only one we have of Sydney.
Below is a few facts on the life of this man:
Sydney was born at Orange NSW in April 1889 to Walter Bolitho ex Bendigonian and Annie Eades. On the Eades side his two Great Grandfathers were officers in the First Fleet and Second Fleet and the maternal side of the family descends directly from Lord Byron. They were all poets as a scrapbook we have shows. When his family returned to Bendigo Sydney was educated at Violet Street State School in Bendigo.
Sydney Bolitho was an ANZAC rising to the rank of S/Sgt Registered Number 1104/6th Battalion 1st AIF. He enlisted at Bendigo on 12 September 1914, Sydney who was badly wounded in the legs at Gallipoli was transferred to the A.I.F. headquarters in London where he filled the position of accountant for the remainder of the war.
Whilst in the trenches at Gaba Tepe he penned this poem "Gallipoli" which was printed in many Australian Newspapers in 1916. The copy we have came from the newspaper "The Barrier Times" in Broken Hill. A further copy donated by us is held by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Sydney contracted tuberculosis in London and was invalided home. He was discharged from the army and died at his mothers home in Violet Street on 1 May 1919. Although out of the service he was given a military funeral at his burial in the White Hills Cemetery. He is buried with his Father, Mother and Grandmother who is Tom’s Great Great Grandmother. She was Charlotte Bolitho nee Roberts and was responsible for bringing the family to Sandhurst (Bendigo) in 1871 from Cornwall.
We have a photocopy of a letter written by William Morris Hughes as Prime Minister of Australia to Sydney’s mother Annie in 1917 thanking her for all her support and assistance in the war effort. In the letter he asks to be her friend and that he will visit her on his next visit to Bendigo. Annie for the remainder of her life was known as the “Soldiers Friend” as many newspaper cuttings we have show.
Donated by Tom Luke and Libby Luke ANZAC Day 2014.